This area is called Allied Gardens, one of San Diego’s postwar suburbs. It has curving residential streets and culdesacs that branch off a busy road lined with strip malls. There are suburbs like this all over the country, places that once offered an idea of safety and a particular way of life and to some extent still do.
I have grown interested in this type of area recently. They really say a lot about American culture.
I’m working on a series of pictures of this spot. It’s a hike from anywhere you can park. They’ve recently installed a 3 way stop here, which has had the weird effect of making the spot seem much busier than when it was just a stretch of 50 MPH road. It alternately smells like exhaust and like growing things.
When I painted this one, the wildflowers were in full bloom. I went back today to do another piece as the landscape dries out and becomes the brown, gold, and tan of California summer. Both those plein air paintings are preparatory studies for larger pieces.
We went to the Santa Ynez wine country for the weekend. My hope was to paint some scenic landscapes but I guess my heart wasn’t really in it and I wound up painting this. This was the town of Santa Maria, mostly just a string of strip malls with housing behind it, like so many small towns all over the United States.